Dukes Cruise Past Drake, Kent State in Day 1 of Wildcat Invitational

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TUCSON, Ariz. (JMU Athletics) -- Powered by five home runs in two games, No. 19 James Madison softball took down Drake, 8-0, in five innings followed by an 8-1 victory over Kent State on the Dukes' first day at the Wildcat Invitational.

The Dukes improve to 7-2 on the season while Drake falls to (10-8) and Kent State moves to 6-9.

Junior Odicci Alexander started the hot hitting afternoon for the Dukes', smacking a two-run home run to left field for an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Redshirt senior Megan Good sent her fourth homer of the season over the fence in center, racking up three RBIs to expand JMU's lead to 5-0 in the third.

Junior Madison Naujokas went 2-for-2 in the game, picking up her second hit with a single up the middle in the fourth. Junior Kate Gordon followed suit as she sent a ball to left field, putting runners on first and third for junior Cambry Arnold. With no outs, Arnold notched her first RBI of the season as she singled through the ride side, expanding the Dukes' lead to 6-0.

In the bottom of the fifth, sophomore Sara Jubas reached first on a fielding error by the third basemen. With one runner on, junior Kierstin Roadcap wacked a walk-off home run to center which ended the game in a run-rule decision, 8-0.

Good picked up her fourth win of the season in the circle while only giving up one hit and two walks in five complete innings. She tallied three strikeouts to improve her season total to 31.

The Dukes trailed after the first inning as Kent State's Hunter Brancifort hit a solo home run, giving the Golden Flashes a 1-0 lead. File evened the score in the top of the second, smashing her first home run of the season over the wall in left center.

Naujokas doubled to right and advanced to third base on a throwing error by the right fielder. She eventually scored to give JMU the 2-1 lead in the third inning.

JMU scored three runs in the fifth and sixth innings off seven hits. Naujokas sent her second double of the game to center and was brought home by Gordon's fifth homer of the season.

Jubas led the Dukes going 3-for-4 at the plate while Gordon and File went 2-for-4, followed by File who went 2-for-3.

Alexander pitched five innings, giving up one run while tallying four strikeouts to notch her third win of the season. Sophomore Payton Buresch made her third appearance in the circle this season and pitched two complete innings.

The last player to hit a walk-off home run was Roadcap against Hofstra on April 29, 2018.
The last time JMU hit three home runs in a game was against Drexel on May 5, 2018 when Jessica Mrozek hit two and Naujokas hit one.
The contest versus Drake was the second shutout of the season.
JMU's 13 hits against Kent State is the most in a single game this season.

"I was happy with our performance in both games today and our players made big hits at the right times. I thought our players were aggressive on base and that's crucial to scoring runs. We're playing two tough teams tomorrow so we need to come out strong and play our game."

The Dukes will face No. 23 Minnesota at 1:15 p.m. ET and No. 12 Arizona at 3:30 p.m. ET. on the final day of the Wildcat Invitational.